This is a comment on the complexity of modern life versus that of our ancestors.
Kent Ackley owns Big Island, a wooded 14-acre spot in Annabessacook Lake in Maine. The island is located about one half-mile offshore and has no electricity. Ackley wants to see the island turned into a learning laboratory, a place for students to practice environmental stewardship, renewable energy and sustainable living. He created the nonprofit One Big Sustainable Island toward that goal.
Ackley hopes that up to 100 people might visit the island at a time. However, the place needs infrastructure. "infrastructure..." That's a euphemism for a rest room. Without electricity, we can assume the rest room will be a somewhat primitive design. Ackley then organized the Outhouse Design Competition.
Teams of high school students spent the first few weeks designing the competition so it could count as course credit. Students said they were surprised to find out how involved the project was. The outhouse couldn’t be too close to water. It had to be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant. It couldn’t disturb too much soil. It had to fit in with the look of the island, be clean, convenient and usable year-round.
Ackley handed out six pages of rules.
The final results were so good that Ackley handed out first and second prizes, now in the school library: antique chamber pots filled with flowers.
“We thought it was fitting to do a No. 1 and a No. 2,” he said.
You can read more in an article by Kathryn Skelton in the Bangor (Maine) Daily News at http://goo.gl/aCCe1.
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